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B i o g r a p h y

Julianna Nickel is an active performer, teacher, and freelancer in the Washington, DC area. Ms. Nickel is a lauded, versatile performer on the stage known for her “talent, intelligence, beauty, the will to work and succeed…”  She is the Adjunct Professor of Flute at George Mason University and a two-time recipient of Mason’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year (2019, 2017).


Ms. Nickel has played chamber recitals in venues across the world including The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, The National Institute of Health, Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Georgetown University, the Alden Theater, historic Mount Vernon, Salisbury College, and Old Town Hall in Fairfax. Recently, Julianna has enjoyed working with the Boulanger Initiative in performance. Since moving to the DC area, Julianna has performed as a soloist with the American Festival Pops Orchestra, the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra, the George Mason University Wind Ensemble, and the Landon Symphonette. She is regular chamber performer with the “In Your Neighborhood Series” presented by the National Symphony Orchestra each January.


Julianna Nickel has an active orchestral career. She performs as a substitute player with Washington National Opera. She is principal flute with the American Festival Pops Orchestra. She has had the honor to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic, the Florida Orchestra and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra. She freelances with multiple regional orchestras in the area.


Professor Nickel is the Director of the Mason Community Arts Flute Academy. Ms. Nickel has adjudicated competitions across the United States, and has presented multiple masterclasses at National Flute Association and Mid-Atlantic Flute Conventions where she has also been a chamber and solo recitalist. In demand to present and perform for flute events, she has visited many schools including the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Flute Day, the West Virginia Flute Symposium, the Richmond Flute Fest, and the Baldwin Wallace Flute Studio. 


Professor Nickel maintains a large flute studio at George Mason University graduating successful performers, teachers, art administrators, and technology specialists that are employed across the world. Her students have also gone to study for  advanced degrees at schools across the world including Eastman, New England Conservatory, Queensland Conservatory, American University, University of Colorado at Boulder, North Texas University, and University of California Los Angelos. In addition to teaching at GMU, she maintains a dynamic studio of adult flutists. Ms. Nickel’s first teaching position was Flute Professor at the University of Evansville, Indiana. She has taught for the summer program at the Kinhaven Music Schools in Weston, Vermont, and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa.


Ms. Nickel’s GMU and adult students are highly successful in local and national competitions. Her students have won multiple masterclass spots at National Flute Association Conventions. Many members of her studio have been selected as winners in the Collegiate, the Masterclass Performers, and the Adult Amateur Competition at Mid-Atlantic Flute Fairs.  Ms. Nickel’s GMU flutists routinely win the school’s orchestra and wind ensemble concerto competitions. Two students from the Nickel studio were selected as International Scholars in 2017 to travel to Costa Rica as part of Mason collaboration with Mason’s Potomac Arts Academy and Costa Rica’s music system, SINEM. Studio members are among Mason’s most valued students earning scholarships from the school and other organizations. They serve as Mason Music Ambassadors and members of The Musicians of Color Society at Mason. 


Ms.Nickel’s first full-time position was as Principal flute of the Evansville Philharmonic. She soon moved to Texas to join her husband, she became and Piccoloist with the Durango Music Festival, and Principal Flute with the Plano and Irving Symphonies.

Julianna attended the New England Conservatory Music where she received both her Bachelors and Masters of Music. Her teachers were Paula Robison, Leone Buyse, and Fenwick Smith. While a student, she was Principal Flute and Personnel Manager of the Gardner Museum Orchestra, a frequent Principal Flutist with the Vermont Symphony, and second flutist with the Boston Philharmonic. 


Ms. Nickel was a Tanglewood Fellow. She was a member of the  prestigious National Repertory Orchestra and spent two summers with the National Orchestra Institute. She also spent two summers at the Aspen Music Festival where she was a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra.


During the pandemic, Ms. Nickel and her family turned their driveway and neighborhood street into a concert venue that resulted in seven  concerts with colleagues and young musicians, including the Mason flute studio. The Nickel family also performed for the first of 53 National Symphony Orchestra live, online broadcasts of the“NSO at Home”. She also completed other concert streaming projects with several other organizations, and produced an in-person flute choir projects with the GMU flute studio during 2020-2021.


Ms. Nickel grew up in Austin, TX. As a high-schooler, she soloed with the San Antonio Symphony and the Central Texas Orchestra. Julianna is married to James Nickel, a French Horn player with the National Symphony Orchestra, and is the proud mom of Kathryn and Jonathan. Kathryn is a teenager pursuing all things related to her musical theater dreams. Jonathan loves the piano, competitive swimming, and all things computer related.

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